Fan favorites stumble in WCS final stretch

Johan "NaNiwa" Lucchesi and Dario "TLO" Wunsch fall to WCS Europe's Challenger League, hurting their chances to qualify for WCS Grand Finals.

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Following their losses in Blizzard's European World Championship Series Premier League round of 32 earlier this week, Alliance's Johan "NaNiwa" Lucchesi and Team Liquid's Dario "TLO" Wunsch are in jeopardy of not qualifying for the WCS Grand Finals at Blizzcon in Anaheim later this year. The $250,000 tournament taking place on November 8 and 9 will culminate the three 2013 WCS seasons and will be the largest StarCraft II tournament of the year.

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A standing of 16th or better in WCS points for the year is required to qualify for Blizzard's Grand Finals. Lucchesi was on course to secure his spot in Anaheim, sitting at 12th overall with 2,500 points, before his losses Tuesday to Millennium's Ji Soo "ForGG" Park and Team Dignitas' Kristoffer "TargA" Marthinsenrg. Wunsch was within striking distance of the top 16 at 20th overall with 2,075 points before losing to Team Empire's Dmitry "Happy" Kostin and former WCS Europe champion Kyeong Deok "Duckdeok" Kim from MVP.

Both are now only capable of earning a maximum of 250 points from this WCS season; this is a 94.4 percent decrease from the potential 4,500 they could have earned from continuing through Premier League and into the Season Finals.

The disparity between 16th place at the end of WCS Season One and Season Two was exactly 1,000 points. The average increase each rank in the top 16 between the end of Season One and the end of Season Two was 1,340.63. Similar point increases should be expected over the course of Season Three.

The two competitors, however, are not without hope. Two third-party events, Dreamhack Bucharest and Intel Extreme Masters New York, will take place and provide the final opportunities to earn WCS points before the year's finale. Lucchesi has confirmed his attendance for both. Team Liquid's team manager, Robin Nymann, could only confirm Wunsch's attendance for the Dreamhack event, mentioning to GameSpot that the team "is undecided on where Dario will go post Bucharest."

Dreamhack Bucharest and IEM New York award WCS points as follows:

  • 1st place - 750 points
  • 2nd place - 450 points
  • 3rd and 4th place - 300 points
  • 5th through 8th place - 225 points
  • 9th through 12th place - 150 points
  • 13th through 16th place - 75 points

Strong performances in Bucharest and New York are almost certainly required from Lucchesi and Wunsch to make the Grand Finals, with the pressure to shine being more so on the latter than the former.

Dreamhack Bucharest takes place on September 13 and September 14. Intel Extreme Masters New York will be held at New York's Comic-Con from October 10 to October 13.

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